Looking at this photo of our dear friend Barbara Heers, I see her very essence. It's taken at a dinner for her 2009 college reunion and the men are mere bystanders to her joyful dance.

Afterward she wrote me how she was filled with new crushes, swept up by deep conversations with friends. Overwhelmed, she was taking some time to review and recover.

Barb was never a bystander to life.

She loved beauty—in nature (where she studied, greeted and commented on every creature that visited her wooded gulch beside her home), in clothing (she wrote me once her recommendation I do a serious edit to my closet and for the sentimental items, I write about them and send them on), in food and drink, and in people.

She was my friend and she became an auntie to my daughter. A traveler, she was elusive at times, and we did not know when we would see her next. She hid her illness from almost all of us, choosing to collaborate with her medical team at Mayo.

When we learned she had died, it was as if she just kept dancing, right on out of the frame.